138 paper

Who’s learning? Responding to the needs of a culturally diverse world of online learners

Andrea Hall
Department of Learning and Teaching, CET
Sultan Qaboos University

A literature review shows that online learning may be impeded for some learners of different cultural backgrounds. Therefore, guidelines are needed to help design courses that are culturally conducive for learners. This paper proposes that Vygotsky’s sociohistorical theories provide a basis for designing these guidelines because they suggest that the sociohistorical background of a community can explain the learning processes of the community. A design research approach was used in this study to evaluate and modify the guidelines designed for an online course for learners from an Arabic community, exemplifying the use of this approach. Preliminary findings support the use of these theories for the design of guidelines for pedagogically sound, culturally favourable online learning environments.

Keywords: culture, online learning, sociocultural, design guidelines